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May 26, 2021 1:43 pm
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British Actors’ Union Accused of ‘Deliberately Trolling Jewish Members’ With Statement on Israel Conflict

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators attend a protest following a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, in London, Britain May 22, 2021. REUTERS/Toby Melville

A statement issued by the UK’s largest actors’ union was panned as “deliberately trolling” its Jewish members on Wednesday, following several resignations from the group protesting its support for a pro-Palestinian march that saw widespread antisemitic activity.

The union, Equity, noted Wednesday that it condemned Israeli government actions, in what it called “a message to Equity’s Jewish members” that was purportedly aimed at backing the fight against antisemitism.

“After listening to the concerns put forward by some members regarding the union’s stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict, we would like to emphasize that while we condemn the recent military actions of the Israeli government, we are appalled by all of the violence directed against civilian Israelis and Palestinians, including the terrorist activity of Hamas,” the statement said. “We categorically condemn the abhorrent abuse that has been directed towards members of the Jewish community in the past couple of weeks, as well as the small minority of hateful banners and rhetoric present on recent and otherwise peaceful Palestinian solidarity marches.”

Stephen Pollard, editor of The Jewish Chronicle, said in response, “Equity is now deliberately trolling its Jewish members with this statement that it stands by everything it has done and again singling out Israel for attack. Utterly foul.”

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Equity’s statement Wednesday was issued after complaints by Jewish members regarding the union’s position on the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Last week, the union called Israel’s treatment of Palestinians “disproportionate” and “horrible,” prompting the resignation of the actress Maureen Lipman and at least other members, the Chronicle reported.

The 47,000-member union had said it condemned the “actions of the Israeli government in recent weeks, both for the behavior of its police in Jerusalem and for its strikes in Gaza.” It also called on members to support their “Palestinian comrades” and join a pro-Palestinian march in London, at which protesters sung antisemitic chants, burned Israeli flags and held banners with antisemitic messages.

“Thank you, Equity, for increasing antisemitism and your deep understanding of Israeli actions,” Lipman said, after leaving the union in protest.

The march had “nothing” to do with the Palestinians and “everything to do with the Jewish people,” argued the star of “The Pianist,” who had been a member of the union for 54 years.

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